THE BLOG

Helping Your Children Avoid the 'Summer Dip'

21/08/2014 15:39 BST | Updated 21/10/2014 10:59 BST

We all know that schoolchildren go through a "summer dip", where learning falls back over the long summer holiday. From 2015, state schools will even be allowed to set their own term times, which may see summer holidays shortened.

However, parents can also play a positive role in keeping learning levels up. By introducing learning into holiday activities, and making sure it remains fun, parents can ensure children get the break from school they need without falling behind. Here are eight simple, fun ways to help your child's learning.

1. Start off by getting advice from teachers

A simple call to your child's teacher is a fantastic place to start - there's no-one who knows what they could be working on better. Most teachers will be delighted to give you some materials from work books, access to online materials, or parent-child participation ideas.

It also lets you shows that you want to be involved in your child's learning and sets a precedent for the year to come.

2. Learning from holidays

Before going away on holiday, why not get your child to help with the planning?

How are you going to get there? Car? Use Google Maps to work out the route. Train? How much will it cost? Book tickets online for cheaper tickets, and compare prices with times to make a judgement on the best fit. Will you need supplies for the journey? Organise the shopping list for the supermarket.

Where are you staying - can they compare prices online? How far in advance do you need to book? What paperwork is needed when you get there?

On arrival, the potential for historical learning is clear - using the internet, or a guide book, what are the top 10 things to do and why?

It's an excellent way to encourage children to learn to take responsibility - and it might lead to an adventure or two!

3. Put together a summer blog

Setting up a blog is a great way to document the work put into planning a holiday. Once there, why not get your child to write a quick paragraph summarising activities within the day?

Better still, get them taking photos and then comment on the photographs. If they are writing, give them a word of the day to incorporate into their write ups,

Get creative - the possibilities are endless. They could create their own website about a certain place, or a photo story where they scroll through the photos and record themselves talking over them?

4. Learning through cooking

Cooking with your kids not only helps them learn an important life skill, it's also a fun way to develop organisational, cooperation and even maths skills.

Start by asking your child to pick a recipe or find one based on the ingredients you have in the house.

They can search the web, and read the comments left about each recipe. Which one are they going to use and why? Are they following it exactly or making any changes of their own and why?

If you don't have all of the ingredients - they can create a shopping list, and help order. Can they help with an online shop? How much of each item do you need?

Then...use the recipe and do the cooking together!

5. Introduce them to learning games

Learning through games makes it fun, and unlocks a gentle competitive spirit. Many schools now have access to hundreds of games, which pupils can play as they undertake activities across the curriculum.

As your child improves, they stand a better chance of beating their friends on leaderboards. This allows you to see where they need support, and help develop their self-esteem by inputting into their learning.

6. Take advantage of engaging online resources

A great example of this is the Khan Academy, which provides free video-based resources.

Why not set some incentives - if they spend 30 minutes using these resources, they get to do something of their choice in return.

7. Set aside quiet time for reading, but also watching

As a parent, do you know a good book so you can get your child to read it and then you can ask questions about it, especially where the child would have to express and opinion?

And in today's digital world, don't limit it to books - why not pick a topic, and see what videos are there on YouTube to help learn about it?

8. Undertake sporting activity

Finally, don't forget physical activity. Most schools put on summer events - but simply being around friends, playing, talking, even competing all have benefits.

The summer break is ultimately about getting outside and having fun - so make sure your kids do so!

Michael Wilkinson is Product Director at Frog Education.